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tv   Book Discussion on The Fight for the Four Freedoms  CSPAN  May 3, 2014 7:00pm-7:46pm EDT

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historical advocacy. for those who think we make too much of the greatest generation and its greatest leader i think we make too little of him. to give you a sense of what this is about icing we fail to remember what made fdr truly great. not just that we're feeling them but ourselves. with that argument and story and challenge i offered to you. we need to remember what
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conservatives liberals have forgotten what we have been trying so hard to remember especially after 30 years of subordinating the public good to corporate priority and creed to subject ourselves to intensifying in security. allowing or rights to be threatened to deny a hour democratic impulses and yearning. remember who we are. that we are the children and grandchildren of the of men and women of the economic texts -- destruction and from the second world war. we're the children and grandchildren of men and women who were saved from political oblivion but turned into the most prosperous country on earth.
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in the fiercely conservative reactionary opposition. despite their own faults and failings by harnessing the power of government to make a more equal and democratic than ever before. now when all they have fought for is under siege that threatens the nation we are the children and grandchildren of the most progressive generation in american history. the children of the men and women articulate it and fought for in dowling us with the promise of the four freedoms. on the afternoon of a january 6, 1941, president roosevelt went to capitol hill to deliver his it'll message. weeks earlier he had defeated his opponent and
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won reelection to the unprecedented third term. but he now faced a bigger challenge even more daunting than the first and second term still with the great depression it was also increasingly threatened by the axis powers of germany germany, italy and japan. and americans have yet to agree how to respond to the threat the president did not falter he also gave dramatic i new meaning to all men are created equal. life liberty and the pursuits of happiness we the people of united states and a new birth of freedom and government of the people by
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the people for the people roosevelt knew about a crisis and a new what americans could accomplish born 1882 the son of hudson river but long before becoming president he suffered serious defeats. none more devastating than contracting polio in 1921 at the age of 39 that left him permanently unable to stand up or walk without assistance. but he had risen above to become the most dynamic political figure of the united states moreover his experiences had reaffirmed his already powerful faith and confidence in god and himself and fellow citizens all of which had enabled him
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to say there is no question in my mind it is time for the country to become a fairly radical for a generation the only thing we have to fear is fear itself so it shows that it is not a static thing but the everlasting march to proclaim this generation has a rendezvoused destiny propelled by the popular energy that his words and actions solicited with relief and recovery known as the new deal they severely tested each other regrettable compromises a and suffered serious defeat. nevertheless challenging and pushing each other to live up to the finest ideals and aspirations they advanced
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further than either had expected even as they confronted the attacks with the corporate antagonism gaudily rejected the firings of authoritarianism but the purpose sam promised by initiating revolutionary changes of government and public life to extend american freedom by way of a great host from the sec. >> they subjected big business to regulation and empower the federal government to address the needs of working people and the court to establish unions and fought for their
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rights they expanded the nation's public infrastructure to improve the environment to cultivate the arts refashion culture and still much to do be done with fresh democratic convictions that helps. standing before the american people in 1941 roosevelt truly believed their rendezvous with destiny had come without hesitation expounded upon the crisis of mortal danger facing the united states and to explain how they cannot just confront them but prevail to do so. rejecting the argument america should simply hunker down he rallied the fellow citizens around the dynamic image serving as the great arsenal of democracy and
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cleaning the crisis required americans to give up the advances but the effective immobilization not enough to sustain the achievement but again finally articulating the grandest ideals to find a causing and a generation. the future days that we seek to make secure relief for to a world on for essentials freedoms. the first is freedom in -- freedom of speech. second. freedom of every person to worship god in his own way. the third is freedom from want. the fourth is freedom of --. conservatives rejected his expansive reach but others responded otherwise.
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i've made not be able to recite those exactly as a call to action and in the wake of the attack on pearl harbor freedom of speech and expression and worship but in the name of those for freedom 60 million americans of every faith and class and color pursued a global struggle we would come to call the good war for the cause and unity of purpose with their allies they would storm beaches go across the fields and fly missions over territories and ultimately cover the way to victory and contrary to assertion
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america's soldiers fought not just for their buddies for a the promise of the four freedoms for democracy. but to right americans had become not since the united but with the aid of bulldozers to move mountains surely the greatest testament is those who most suffered the justices the racial and religious minorities went all out not even more so determined to secure a promise against the foreign enemies and it's a racist and reactionaries beta americans and jewish americans serving greatest numbers proportionately than any other group. the african-american numbers were limited and young black
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men were segregated 1 million served even 22,000 japanese-americans despite the fact many were injured -- intered. they prayed not only the safe and sound return of loved ones with bell went out as volunteers to provide the material for total victory to maintain the morale of the gis and civilians alike to protect what they were defending. once again they make tragic mistakes and suffer serious defeats. nonetheless been nattily prevailed over enemies but compelled each other to enhance american democratic life. needless to say is laid out
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in my book i want you to here the narrative. predictably their right continued to a prose congressional republicans and southern democrats joined together to not only limit the power of labor to build the enabling gis the republicans fear they would go for fdr the southern democrats feared they would get to go out and like it. concurrently business executives anxious about the democratic impulse knowing they could not openly opposed freedom party is them to corporate ads and promotions even as a further tried to rewrite them as freedom of private enterprise. but they had reason to worry americans were vigorously expanding the civil-rights
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movement initiated in the 30's subjected industry and the marketplace to greater control and reducing inequality and poverty in their race riots broke out north and south americans were further transforming the villa of we the people and the overwhelming majority of americans of pursue a new initiatives of war sent in my book will help the statistics 85% one a social democratic america not just democrats not equally but a majority. all of light which gave him the courage not to propose just a gi bill but an economic bill of rights the shows of freedom of fear for all americans in japan they
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surrender the mud that followed but the pocket -- a promise of the four freedoms did not expire even as united states began to take off to enter into a cold war struggle most americans bolstered by the public investments of the new deal and the war effort and the benefit of the gi bill set out in pursuit of the promise but not all americans. not everyone wants to enhance. conservative reactionaries and corporate bosses had their own ambitions determined to reverse the accomplishments to cancel out the four freedoms for get the idea of the bill of rights they would suppressive not extinguish the aspirations and
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activities committee they enjoyed success by the early '50s they marginalized radicals inside need the campaign not to mention taking the four freedoms from public debate. but yet for all the efforts they could not get americans to forget the victory from the promises that encouraging in fact, as americans continued to make the nation more profitable the professed to move forward never as quickly but always for word. the generation that beat the great depression became a
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decidedly civic generation. churches schools and had higher living standards and expanded social security even began with racial discrimination not to mention in the historic segregation in public schools end when they were seriously challenged to live up to the promise that so many had struggled to articulate the power of results for freedoms and george those who marched for civil rights organize public employee unions push to enact health care for the elderly in court and demanded equal rights for women to reform the immigration law pressed for
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greater regulation to protect the environment and even protested the vietnam war did not readily recite those freedoms but many did. moreover battle the inspired and informed of the president and people who fought for those freedoms but also called to act by men and women of that generation. chavez in civil rights activist such as baker, former yvette martin luther king, jr. that heard about the four freedoms fromíl&5
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some of the ideals that we fought for express 1941 by president franklin roosevelt i cried from joy when johnson signed the civil rights act. his other legislation still resonates 50 years later the initiative helped to create a society we fought for 1941 through 1945. undeniably the agent of roosevelt and the progressive pursuit of freedom can seem like a long time ago but even now after so many years of political ascendancy in class warfare from above more than 30 years to deregulate corporate activities to reduce the taxes of the rich to neglect the public
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infrastructure the progressive legacy continues to nourish us. pick any area of american life the consequence of the generations commitment to those freedoms are evidence. all of which renders it all the more remarkable we do not honor them for their achievements. how is it the most celebrated generation in american history is not remembered for its most enduring accomplishments in greatest gift of the nation? the four freedoms in the bedrock of american life. that they continue to work as they have in doing that is not remarkable but liberals and leftist with that generation is in the 1987 in fdr was unveiled a
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law of the washington d.c. and in 2004 the world were to memorial were opened on the national mall. they snatched up books like citizen soldiers and tom brokaw the greatest generation with the flags of our fathers. they spent hours looking at the documentary with the band of brothers and the pacific. all around the country to commemorate degeneration of labor. those memorials and histories and ceremonies beautifully honor those that prevailed in the great depression that hit even as we have proclaimed gratitude promise never to forget all that they have done we feel
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to remember the greatest generation and the greatest leave -- leader not only to the memory and legacy of that generation but with their own share prospects and possibilities we have allowed the public telling of their lives and struggles with the most inspiring content with the beating tribute to absolutely there was no mention whatsoever of the fdr pronouncement of the four freedoms. take a look they ignored how president articulated the promise freedom from want and fear. and only to in democratic life a and they ignored hell that president saved the united states from tyranny and destruction and turned
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into the strongest and richest country in history by harnessing the power is a democratic government to make america a freer added more democratic than ever but the columnist compounded like the storytellers as if the lives and histories memorialized had nothing to do with each other even though they are miles apart. they made no mention how president degeneration mobilizes not by a breach reading from the finest ideals but work to make them all the more real. no mention how they proved to themselves to prevail against daunting challenges but to reaffirm the american is a perfect with
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imperialism make no mention with their own even before they went to war. even as pundits and intellectuals marveled the fascination for the greatest generation never addressed the democratic significance about all. those on the right recognized but sadly those on the left missed entirely then not only failed to appreciate our admiration for the greatest signal but criticize the celebration ever since 1933 looking to roll back the achievements of the generation for the fourth time elected president and never failed to realize doing so requires a scary in manipulating and
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appropriating the making of american democracy in kuwait and the ancestors the impose policies that are inspired by fascism. not just failing to end the great depression by prolonging not at the expense of business enterprise the hijacking of the constitution at the same time this strenuously endeavored the men and women of the greatest generation from the achievements of the roosevelt presidency through the military service trying to lay claim in the near-term the liberal reactions to the world war ii with criticism bordering on condescension. into lots of commercial hype they've reminded us of the
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racism tragically marked the actions of the 1930's and '40's. but yet progressive commentators fail to appreciate the appeal of the men and women of that generation failing to see if the greatest tribute or not making too much of what they did but consequently they did nothing to respond to generations progressive struggles. we americans did not turn to the past in the '90s because we wanted to escape the present or we were fooled into doing so. in the midst of the most conservative era since the twenties we did so to engage
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that generation. says the very meaning of america was in jeopardy we did with the devil is done we look at back to the most powerfully expressed what it means in those who confront the moral crisis makes more equal some of us did so in the clearest of terms responding to the spread of groups and the horrifying attack political activist recalled the military service with the postwar commitment for renewed respect for civil liberties and civil rights to the acknowledged his father a decorated veteran a lifelong
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republican he noted how the same man refused to allow them to override the ideals to proud they recount his dad well serving as the little league coach during the fifties his father recruited the interracial team and when acting as the grand marshal of the memorial day parade he insisted of the peace marches to join in the procession he then proceeded to relate the exchange he and his had -- that had not long before my dad was determined to dawn his
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uniform one last time on royal day. i help to address to ask about the war his only reply was to hand me one of his medals. inscribed on the back were the words freedom from fear and want freedom from [inaudible] religion. which i decided to use as the front and the back. my dad fought fascism to defend those freedoms not just for himself the people of different religions and races people he disagreed with or even those he was prejudiced against the they
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were under attack because we forget people fought world war ii. it becomes all the more critical for us now in the wake of the tragedy of disaster in disappointments of the past decade and a half we recall of flavors of the generation of the 30's and '40's and the president who led them. we apparently want to do so but that is not easy but as the powers that be ever wanted to do that shapes the past to limit american memory to constrain the impulse nobody did so like ronald reagan in the famous presidential visit to
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commemorate the 40th a anniversary of the d-day landing he looked at the struggles and actually initiated the greatest phenomenon but contrary to appearances whenever he spoke of that generation he was seeking not to cultivate every determined to do those achievements he did not just look at but to expose those all together even did his farewell address after urging greater attention in the teaching of american history to say americans need to remember america is
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freedom. freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of enterprise. but yet reagan could not have spoken as he did he could not even become president if those had not already forgotten or forsaken what made the greatest generation truly but of course, none of that we cannot afford to forget our democratic history as the late political scientists put people's memories that the measure of the freedom only when we remember what made the greatest generation and its leader truly great horror when we restore with the democratic lives and laborers will be really
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appreciate why we turn to them and honor them as we shed for only then will be remember who we are only then will we remember the old way to truly sustain the american democratic life then be but save the nation to make it once again fairly radical for a generation. think you i am told there are questions if you have them i am told the'e>óy5ñ microphones you can ask a question go to the microphone so the recording can't pick you up.
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>> welcome to washington d.c.. >> football season. [laughter] has site sat here and listen to first of all, let me4p recommend another monument from the chinese internment. >> the japanese internment. >> the broader question is as i sat here with the other people in the auditorium they would be jumping up and with the banner that says long live the democrats but i really wonder if you think that only progresses and democrats embraced the ideals for freedoms or
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perhaps they are not more pervasive than that? >> first of all, let me make clear in the 1930's the new deal depended directly of the laborers of to progressive republicans the most important senators to of the three were republican they were mavericks'. online from nebraska a visionary or a godfather and other environmental projects. the other is spun my adopted state of wisconsin who was critical to join the democrats with the legislation to pave the way for roosevelt to understand
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what it was coming up to put them into the four freedoms. i think the democrats have no monopoly. i tried to make clear it is in my book very clearly that loss is not by the way of others to deny them but the unfortunate story of democrats for getting those from jimmy carter i see them as having no monopoly. maybe with clear channel with those as ultraconservative that we talk about the ideals of those freedoms ready to take up the crusade and with that
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9,000-mile track to year when americans had to say is to echo the four freedoms in this past summer my wife and i finally drove a truck back across south dakota it was one of the spiritual high points of my life rand we jokingly said next time we go together to find out what americans want. >> i had been wondering when talking to libertarians college students who are into freedom is to make clear the four freedoms that
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they have to understand all of them. >> absolutely. the libertarian hero ron paul a few years ago had a book that i now forget about but like 50 chapters one of those basically denigrated and denied everything to deny that those represented the united states jim tennant and the day could be libertarian or a reactionary but in one of his recent
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books attacked freedom from want as the ideal and it seems to me that libertarians are ready to embrace freedom as long as they joined to help freedom of expression include the right to organize labor unions that women's rights with the guarantee that african-americans and others had the right to vote. think you for asking. anybody else? >> i was very involved with
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the occupied wall street movement i could go on for hours. [laughter] but have you feel about citizens united? and with the decision last week? >> it is curious there is no direct reference to anything beyond freedom of speech or expression. the other thing is it was presumed and i will add that eleanor roosevelt even before franklin spoke of those for equality in in
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that talked about the right to vote one person one vote. but that moral basis of democracy she talked about it was a grand and long struggle that we were still enslaved by the failure to guarantee the rights to all american citizens. 50 years from the '60s when we believe we had transcended those forces to deny the person one-person one-vote not realizing we would return having to do something about the fact those who have a great deal of money for their freedom
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of speech seems to be more valued more than anyone else's from the equation of money and a speech even though they can only vote once that is why my daughter works on these issues. that is one of the many campaigns we will have to figure of how to address the back in the 19th century the argument was that people who owned more than one residents should have more than one vote or those who pay taxes or those who do not should have the right to vote. the same struggle over andover can.
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we fought john mccain the republican in the former senator who made a serious dent in a speech of corporations as people and discovered and the struggle continues. fake you all very much for coming out in the reagan. i've really enjoyed it. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[applause] those are very kind words and take you for coming all on such a beautiful evening when there was so much else going on and buy books at the independent bookstores. how could you not want to buy a book? i am here this evening to talk about a new book war what is it good for? i am sure everybodwi


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